What We Saw: Week 1

The QB List team recaps everything you missed while you were glued to the couch watching Red Zone

Packers @ Vikings

Final Score: Vikings 23, Packers 7

Writer: Brennan Rampe (@phdinnfl on Twitter)

 

In Week 1, these two divisional rivals met each other right away. The Vikings scored on their first drive and never looked back, as quarterback Kirk Cousins had an outstanding day, looking comfortable in new head coach Kevin O’Connell’s offense. Justin Jefferson had a career-high 184 yards and couldn’t be stopped all day long, as he was wide open frequently. The Packers, as was expected, had a rough showing on offense. The defense, which had a lot of hype, got carved up all day long. Back-to-back MVP Aaron Rodgers had a forgetful Week 1 outing for the second time in two years, getting sacked often and throwing an interception. The loss of wide receivers Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and the injury to Allen Lazard were felt, but there is still plenty of time for Green Bay to get adjusted to their new offense.

 

Green Bay Packers

 

Quarterback

 

Aaron Rodgers: 22/34, 195 Yards, INT | 1 Carry, -1 Yard, Fumble (Lost)

Jordan Love: 4/5, 65 Yards

 

For the second year in a row, Aaron Rodgers had a borderline disastrous Week 1 performance. He was sacked four times, lost a fumble, threw an interception, and rarely had time to throw, given his patchwork offensive line. Still, this game could have gone differently if rookie wide receiver Christian Watson hadn’t dropped a surefire touchdown on Green Bay’s first play from scrimmage.

 

 

Rodgers clearly misses Davante Adams, and to a lesser extent, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, as evidenced by A.J. Dillon being the leading receiver on the day. He was hit often and hard, including one hit on which it appeared as if he injured his neck. Talk about his decline is premature, as Rodgers would go on to win the MVP last year after a performance that was similar. Jordan Love appeared in mop-up action, looking sharp, although the Vikings were playing prevent defense during his appearance at the very end of the game.

 

Running Back

 

Aaron Jones: 5 Carries, 49 Yards | 5 Targets, 3 Receptions, 27 Yards

AJ Dillon: 10 Carries, 45 Yards, TD | 6 Targets, 5 Receptions, 46 Yards

 

Due to the fact that Green Bay was largely playing from behind, the running backs did not have much of an opportunity. Aaron Jones showed his ability to make people miss on a 29-yard run in the third quarter. He was also involved in the passing game, though his main contribution was a 22-yard reception which accounted for almost the entirety of his 27 receiving yards. A.J. Dillon scored the lone Packers touchdown, dragging Vikings defenders with him across the plane to the end zone. As mentioned earlier, he was also the Packers leading receiver.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

 

Romeo Doubs: 5 Targets, 4 Receptions, 37 Yards | 1 Carry, 11 Yards

Christian Watson: 4 Targets, 2 Receptions, 34 Yards | 1 Carry, 7 Yards

Robert Tonyan: 5 Targets, 3 Receptions, 36 Yards

Josiah Deguara: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 28 Yards

Sammy Watkins: 3 Targets, 3 Receptions, 18 Yards

Juwann Winfree: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 17 Yards

Randall Cobb: 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 14 Yards

Tyler Davis: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 3 Yards

 

There’s no question that the Packers’ wide receivers are going to have to get up to speed quickly or it will be a long season. Christian Watson‘s drop on the first play from scrimmage was inexcusable, and he and fellow rookie Romeo Doubs often seemed to not be where Aaron Rodgers expected them to be. Though their performance was mediocre, they each recorded a catch over 20 yards, which they’ll need to continue doing. They both were used in the running game as well, perhaps giving them an additional way to contribute. Veteran Sammy Watkins failed to make an impact, although he secured all three of his targets. Old reliable Randall Cobb also didn’t contribute much. It was good to see Robert Tonyan catching passes after suffering a torn ACL, and Josiah Deguara secured both of his targets. Juwann Winfree and Tyler Davis had catches, but time will tell if they will see the field enough to be relevant.

 

Minnesota Vikings

 

Quarterback

 

Kirk Cousins: 23/32, 277 Yards, 2 TD

 

Kirk Cousins picked up where he left off last season, looking very effective in the new offense. Unlike his counterpart on the other side, he had plenty of time to throw, only taking one sack. He also finished with no turnovers. He wasted no time getting his team on the board, as they scored on a gutsy 4th-and-1 pass to Justin Jefferson.

 

 

He would go on to find Jefferson again just before halftime, which resulted in a 17-0 lead at the half, leaving Green Bay disoriented going into the locker room. His 72% completion rate could have been higher, but most of his incompletions were thrown to avoid sacks. I can only recall one questionable pass, but thankfully it fell incomplete rather than into the hands of a Packers defender. He looked very comfortable in the 11 personnel formation, which they only used about 40% of the time last season, which was near the bottom of the league.

 

Running Back

 

Dalvin Cook: 20 Carries, 90 Yards | 5 Targets, 3 Receptions, 18 Yards

Alexander Mattison: 8 Carries, 36 Yards

C.J. Ham: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 6 Yards

 

Dalvin Cook had a solid but unspectacular day, as he failed to find the end zone. However, he had very few negative-yardage plays, averaged 4.5 yards per carry, and picked up several key first downs. He also caught three of his five targets. Alexander Mattison spelled Cook on occasion, and like Cook, averaged 4.5 yards per carry. He was not targeted in the passing game. Most importantly, neither running back put the ball on the ground. C.J. Ham, despite having no carries, caught his lone target and was effective as a blocker, something to be expected from someone nicknamed “The Battering Ram”.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

 

Justin Jefferson: 11 Targets, 9 Receptions, 184 Yards, 2 TD

Adam Thielen: 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 36 Yards

Johnny Mundt: 3 Targets, 3 Receptions, 17 Yards

K.J. Osborn: 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 14 Yards

Ben Ellefson: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 2 Yards

Irv Smith Jr.: 2 Targets, 0 Receptions, 0 Yards

 

This game, simply put, was The Justin Jefferson Show. His 184 receiving yards were a career-high. He consistently gained separation from his defender, as he caught 9 of his 11 targets. One of those incompletions was nearly a touchdown, but couldn’t get his second foot in bounds. Here he is catching a 36-yard TD pass right before halftime:

 

 

The Vikings actually do have other wide receivers, but Jefferson was so effective and was somehow usually wide open on most plays, leaving Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborn as secondary targets. Irv Smith Jr. failed to record a reception; Johnny Mundt caught all three of his targets, but this doesn’t alter Irv Smith Jr.’s TE1 status.

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